how to slow things down without killing the spark?
December 25, 2012 7:50 PM Subscribe
An unexpected hookup with a coworker crush at a Christmas party has opened up the possibility of a new, exciting relationship. How do I slow things down to a comfortable pace?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in my late twenties. I got out of a serious relationship 2.5 months ago, and I'm still not completely over my ex. Pretty soon after the breakup I started crushing on one of my cute, geeky coworkers. We have a natural chemistry and complementary personalities. In some ways he reminds me of my ex, but like a warmer, more nurturing version. Unlike my ex, he also has at least one serious relationship under his belt.
My first impression when we met was that he was a bit arrogant, unfriendly and snarky. But I decided to kill him with kindness, and he quickly warmed up to me and became very sweet. I never could tell whether he liked me in that way, though. He did mention offhand at one point that he's very shy and will usually wait for a girl to make the first move. (He told me he was devastated when a serious relationship ended a year and a half ago and says while he's gotten over his ex he hasn't had the courage to ask a girl out since, even when he's felt attracted.) We never hung out outside of work.
A few days ago my office had a holiday party. We sat down next to each other in a dark room, and for the first time he was overtly flirty with me. He asked me if he could get me a Christmas gift, which surprised me since we're only acquaintances. A bit later in the conversation I mentioned a movie I like and he said, "I'd like to see that with you." Suddenly I noticed that he seemed very nervous and shy. He asked me if he could put his hand around me, and I let him. I rested my head on his shoulder. Then he kissed me. and I kissed him back. He told me that I was beautiful, that I'm a sweetheart, that he'd been harboring a "total crush" on me from the first day we met but had been afraid to make a move. I told him the feeling was mutual. He couldn't keep his hands off of me, and I had to draw him out of the coworker's apartment so we could seek the privacy of a bar. He didn't ask me to come back to his place after we made out at the bar. He told me he wanted to wait. (His attraction was very visibly obvious, though.) But he said he can't wait to spend time with me and cuddle with me after the Christmas break. It was a thrilling turn of events.
Unfortunately the next morning doubts started creeping into my head.
We both went away for Christmas and since the party he's been texting me like crazy. First he wanted to see me again before he left to give me the present but that wasn't possible because I was leaving the next morning. He's been texting me things like he's been smiling like an idiot since the party, that he's thinking of me constantly, that he can't wait to see me again, that during Christmas he was imagining a "private holiday" with me away from his family. At one point he sent me a photo of himself with glasses with the caption, "Eh, me with specs. I'm blind. Will you be my seeing eye girlfriend?"
Anyway, I'm suddenly panicked about the pace of this. I don't want this to be a rebound. I would like to get to know him a bit better before jumping into a relationship, as I already have some reservations about him: he's a few years younger than me, and I know that he has struggled with serious depression. Working with him adds further complications. (We work in a small office, but it's not a career job for me so that lowers the stakes a bit.)
I am also a bit put off by his eagerness and afraid that his feeling for me aren't genuine and that he just wants a girlfriend, but this may just be insecurity. I've had bad luck in the past with guys who come on strong and then cool off once they "have" me. He is also quite emotionally fragile, and I'm scared of hurting him.
I want to stress that there's a lot I find very sexy about him: he's smart, sweet, funny, introverted (which I like), we share similar tastes and interests, he seems to have substance. I'm attracted to him, and I feel good when he touches me. That's rare for me, especially when I'm first getting to know someone. I've met a bunch of guys in the last few months and he's the only with whom I've felt a connection. I can't wait to see him again and be close to him. I'm also scared. My feelings aren't lukewarm. They're more dueling extremes.
My question: How can I slow down the pace of this to a point where it feels comfortable? How do I know when it's slow enough?
I would rather not tell him that I want to take it slow, as I feel like that will be a mood killer, especially given how sensitive he is. Is there a way of leading him in a slower pace without outright saying it?